The Cobb County Board of Education will recognize Lovinggood Middle family and consumer science teacher Dawn Castleberry as the school district's 2011-12 Teacher of the Year at the middle school level during its monthly meeting tonight at 7 in the Central Office boardroom in Marietta.
The board also will honor the Teachers of the Year at the other academic levels:
- Acworth Intermediate music teacher Richard McKee.
- Kennesaw Mountain High theater instructor Coy Dunn.
Also tonight, the school board will vote on a scaled-back $17 million renovation project for East Cobb's Wheeler High School.
The low construction bid for the project from Hogan Construction Group came in $2.6 million over budget, but Doug Shepard, the chief administrative officer for the school district's SPLOST projects, told the board at its Aug. 10 work session that the project will remain at its budgeted $17 million.
Shepard said the school system eliminated several aspects from the original scope of the project—such as improvements to the drama, culinary arts and horticulture programs and the undersized theater—to maintain the budget.
“Rising construction costs are a contributing factor to the high contract value of Wheeler,” Shepard told Patch. “However, there are other factors involved, including the complexity of the design, the tight site and the proximity of the students.”
The district’s Facilities & Technology Committee, which provides community oversight for Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) projects, voted 10-2 on Aug. 15 to recommend approval of the project, Shepard said.
Wheeler students are attending classes in trailers in front of the school on Holt Road to allow construction to proceed once the board approves the contract.
“It’s something that needs to be done,” board member Lynnda Crowder-Eagle of West Cobb’s Post 1 said. “It’s a shame that it’s over budget, but after re-evaluating and revising, we’re at a place where we can stay at our original budget and give the community what they need and want. You have a lot of people in the community that have pushed forward for this project, and I want to see it happen.”
Board member Scott Sweeney of Post 6, which includes Wheeler, could not be reached for comment.
Shepard said it’s too early to predict whether the district is entering a period of soaring construction costs after saving more than $15 million off SPLOST project budgets this year.
“We’ve had a mixed bag,” he said. “Some projects remain under budget, while others have exceeded our budgets. The overwhelming majority of our projects thus far in SPLOST III have come well under budget; only recently have we observed some projects over budget.”
The school board is due to vote on five other discussion items tonight:
- The 12-room addition at East Cobb's Sope Creek Elementary, to be awarded to A.M. Adams Building of Lilburn for $3.3 million. That's about $455,000, or 12 percent, below budget, Shepard said at the Aug. 10 meeting.
- Addition/modification work at the Pitts Transportation Support Facility in Marietta, to be awarded to Cablik Enterprises of Atlanta, which had the low bid of $1,264,000. The project is about $120,000, or 10 percent, over budget, Shepard said at the work session.
- A resolution to revise the application for state capital outlay funding.
- The purchase and installation of the Telematic Information Management System for the district’s transportation and maintenance departments from Sprint/Actsoft for $337,718.40 for the wireless communication and $204,792 for software maintenance.
- Superintendent Michael Hinojosa's goals and the related implementation plan.
The board will not discuss modifying the district’s rule allowing employees to have nonattorneys present during a disciplinary conferences. Cobb County Association of Educators President Connie Jackson spoke out against that change.
Hinojosa and board Chairwoman Alison Bartlett of Post 7 in the center of the county determined that more discussion of the issue is needed, district spokesman Jay Dillon said.